Lawsuit on police shooting settled

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lawyers representing a Suffolk police officer and the mother of a man he fatally shot in 2015 have reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Virginia Walker Kinsey filed the lawsuit about a year ago, asking for $8 million. She is the mother of 28-year-old Corey Jason Achstein, who died when he was shot on Dec. 28, 2015, near his home on Causey Avenue.

Officer James Babor fired the fatal shot, which was captured on his body camera. He was responding after dark that evening to a report of a man with a weapon who was threatening a group of teens.

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Pender & Coward attorney Dave Arnold, who was representing Babor in the case, said in an email he could not comment on the settlement.

“All I can say is that the matter has been resolved,” he wrote.

Attorneys for the Achstein family did not respond to emails seeking comment.

A document filed Oct. 2 in Suffolk Circuit Court does not give details on the settlement. It references only a “certain compromise agreement that has been offered on behalf of the defendant, Police Officer James Babor, in full and final settlement of all claims as the result of the wrongful death of Corey Jason Achstein in an incident occurring on Dec. 28, 2015.”

Babor responded to the call that night, found Achstein matching the description and ordered him to the ground. Achstein lay down on his back with his hands out to his sides. But when another police vehicle approached from the opposite direction, Achstein sat up. That’s when Babor fired his weapon once, striking Achstein in the back. Achstein later died at the hospital.

Police later found a realistic-looking metallic pellet gun about 10 feet from Achstein’s body, according to a report by Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson.

After an investigation, Ferguson declined to press criminal charges against Babor.

Ferguson wrote in his May 2016 decision that Babor was justified in believing Achstein was a deadly threat, because he had information that Achstein had a weapon, Achstein was ignoring commands to show his hands and Achstein moved in a manner that could be perceived as threatening.

A jury trial on the lawsuit had been set for Dec. 4-8, but it has been canceled. A hearing on the settlement is set for Dec. 5 in Suffolk Circuit Court with Judge Carl E. Eason Jr.